Monteleone castle was built in the 11th century by the people of Orvieto to defend the northern borders of their territory. After being controlled by various rulers the town was conquered by Pope Alexander VI, and assigned to the Pope's son, Cesare Borgia known as Valentino, in 1498. It was sacked and conquered in 1643 by the Florentines who were allied with the Farnese family against Pope Urban VIII. It was later won back by the Papal States and remained under their dominion until the Unification of Italy.
ART AND CULTURE
Because of its strategic position, Orvieto decided in 1050 to install a fortress there to guard its northern borders. From the original castle we can today admire the entrance gate (Porta Nord), at the base of the Torre Mozza; the Torrione and its defense walls; the Teatro Comunale dei Rustici, an architectural jewel built in 1732 inside a medieval palace; the characteristic lanes; the medieval well; and other buildings on the town's main square, all set within the ancient hamlet. Worthy of a visit are the Torre Civica (1890); the church of the Santissimo Crocifisso (1637), with its beautiful Baroque altar; the church of SS. Apostoli Pietro e Paolo that has a fresco featuring the Madonna and Child between Saints Peter and Paul, a Pietà from the school of Perugino (late 15th century) and in the crypt the mortal remains of S. Teodoro Martire. From Piazza Pietro Bilancini rises the Torre dell'Orologio, constructed in the late 1800s from a design by the Monteleone architect Filidio Lemmi using locally manufactured bricks and clay tiles that give the building its warm tones and harmony.